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Europe's Second Renaissance: Abstract
A lot of things are going on in the world, and some of the things that have been going on in the world have been quite shocking and unsettling to American oilmen.
For about 100 years the world petroleum industry was, for all intents and purposes, the American oil industry. Here in the U.S.A. we produced most of the world's oil, we consumed most of it, exported most of it, and we found, produced, and controlled much of the oil in other nations. We also invented most of the industry's equipment, and we made it, exported it, and showed others how to use it.
But not any more. How come we lost dominance of the international oil business? Dozens of independent U.S. oil firms went abroad and weakened the control that had been exercised so long by the old-line international companies; host governments in producing nations began to flex their muscles and start taking a hand in their oil industries; and little local companies in foreign countries suddenly sprang to life, and got into the act themselves.
There's something behind this explanation—something very fundamental and farreaching and significant. It is the European economic miracle. We are seeing what I would like to call the "Second European Renaissance." A dozen or more years ago, Europe suddenly shook off its traditional complacency and began planning bright new futures for everyone and every nation. They were determined to get our way of life and our material comforts for themselves. But they're not just going to take them from us. They're going to do it themselves and in their own way. They have adopted the American spirit of enterprise and have gone all out for competition. As a result, European business is booming.
This new Europe is giving us a terrific run for our money. The European nations are finding oil and gas in places where we knew it was all the time.
Why they are finding it is this ... the new spirit of enterprise, resourcefulness, competition, ingenuity, and determination to have more for themselves and do more for themselves. In their oil industry they are using their own equipment and their own methods as much as is practical. They insist on running their own show.
All of this also applies to Japan.
Many are concerned about conditions in Latin America. These nations are also feeling restiveness and dissatisfaction with slow economic progress. Some of them are still operating by trial and error, but there are many elements down there that are beginning to understand the essentials of a sound and progressive oil industry, and the march of events and the need for oil will certainly bring improvement before too long.
The American oil industry must hump to keep ahead of this new economic rebirth. These people in other nations have just learned that nature didn't put all the oil in the U.S. and that the art of finding oil isn't an American monopoly. They are finding oil, developing their own geological theories, their own tools, their own producing methods.
Our challenge is to reduce the cost of finding oil and bringing it to the surface. And we've got to find a lot more oil. Two things are certain: The demand for petroleum is going to grow and grow, and our present surplus of crude is going to dry up rapidly. And, there are tremendous quantities of oil and gas still hidden in the rocks under these United States, waiting to be found. Finding this oil will require new approaches, much imaginative thinking, perhaps new geological theories, probably new exploration tools.
Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes
1 Petroleum Publishing Co., Tulsa
Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society